- BBC News World
Valérie Bacot, 40, is the new name for sexist violence in France.
Not for being part of the sad list of femicides but for having killed a man who was her stepfather, then her husband, and whom she denounced as her abuser.
Bacot’s trial began Monday in Chalon-sur-Saone, a department in east-central France.
Bacot claimed that she was only 12 years old when Daniel Polette started raping her.
The man was imprisoned, but then returned to the family home and allegedly resumed the abuse.
The woman said that he forced her to marry him and is the father of her four children.
And he admitted to killing him in 2016.
The trial, which has gained great notoriety in France, has also fueled public debate on violence against women. Even more than 600,000 people signed a petition calling for his release.
Abuse and murder
Bacot said he shot and killed Polette during an encounter in which he had allegedly been forcing her to work as a prostitute.
The woman hid the body with the help of two of her children, but was arrested in October 2017 and confessed to the crime.
Bacot claimed that Polette, who was 25 years older, began sexually abusing her when she was only 12 years old.
The man spent two and a half years in jail for those abuses in the 1990s, but then returned to the family home and got her pregnant for the first time at age 17.
Bacot related that Polette married her and then forced her to prostitute herself.
She admitted that she shot him dead with her own pistol after an incident involving a client in March 2016.
Last month, a book about his life was published in which he wrote that I was “scared all the time” and what “I had to put an end to it.”
“Kill to survive”
For the prosecutors in the case, the homicide was previously considered, while the defense says that Bacot felt she had to kill him to protect herself and her children.
“The extreme violence she suffered for 25 years and the fear that her daughter would be the next” led her to murder the man, Bacot’s lawyer Janine Bonaggiunta told AFP.
“The judiciary remains too slow, not reactive enough and too lenient with perpetrators who may continue to exercise their violent power,” he added.
“This is precisely what can push a desperate woman to kill to survive “, he analyzed.
Bacot’s case is compared to that of another French woman, Jacqueline Sauvage, who was jailed for killing her abusive husband, but later received a presidential pardon in 2016.
The Valérie Bacot trial is expected to last about a week.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.